Summer is finally upon us and most days are just too warm for a hot cup of java juice. Below are some tips to help you make a great iced coffee.
1. Start with fresh coffee beans. Great iced coffee was never made using stale beans so avoid buying your beans on sale. If you don’t drink iced coffee often, consider buying fresh beans at a coffee shop where you can buy only the amount you need for the occasion.
2. Test the taste. Hot coffee tastes different from cold coffee. So to get an idea of how your coffee will taste cold let a hot cup cool to room temperature. This little test will help you decide what tastes perfect to you.
3. Use fresh ice. Ice has a tendency to get stale if it sits in the freezer unused for too long. If you’re wondering whether your ice is helping or hurting your iced coffee, it’s easy to test: let a few cubes melt and come to room temperature, then taste the resulting water. If it’s the water you would want to drink by the glassful, you’re in good shape. If not, toss out the old ice and make it fresh. If it still tastes stale, buy a bag of ice, the cost is worth the boost in flavor.
4. Brew it strong. Brew your coffee on the strong side as it will be weakened by the ice. To keep from diluting your drink, try turning your leftover coffee into ice cubes. Use these in the place of regular ice cubes to keep your drink chilled.
5. Try a cold brew. Some people object to acidity in their cold coffee. Cold brewing greatly reduces the acid content of coffee (with the same coffee it will lower the acidity one full pH point vs. hot brew). Put 3/4 cup ground coffee in a quart Mason jar, fill with water, and stir. Cap it and put it in the refrigerator for 12 hours. Strain the resulting concentrate through a coffee filter to remove the grinds. Add water to taste when you’re ready to drink. You can even heat the reconstituted beverage for a quick, low-acid cup of hot coffee.
6. Don’t use burned coffee for your iced coffee. Saving leftover coffee for iced beverages is often fine, but don’t be tempted to use the dregs of a burnt pot. If it doesn’t taste good hot, it definitely won’t taste good cold.
7. Add some zip to your iced coffee. Adding fruits like strawberries, oranges, blueberries, or even cherries and spices like nutmeg, cinnamon or cardamom is a great way to perk up your drink and your day. The important thing is to have fun with it! Try lots of new things. Vary your usual routine. The worst that can happen is you won’t like it. You can always try something else!
If you’re short on time and don’t have a stash of reconstituted coffee available, try this recipe using instant coffee.
Vanilla Iced Coffee
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cold water
1 1/4 cups milk
Chocolate shavings (optional)
Put the first 5 ingredients into a blender.
Pulse blend until the ingredients are smooth and frothy.
Add the cold milk and pulse blend until all the ingredients are blended well.
Pour off a few cubes of ice, add the chocolate, and voila!
If you desire, add the ice to the blender after the first five ingredients have been blended and crush the ice and then add the milk and mix.